It’s not known how many baseballs Babe Ruth signed when he visited Billings, Montana in 1947. Many have likely been lost to time or wound up in yard sales and flea markets during the 1950s and 60s.
Ruth showed up at an American Legion baseball tournament that summer, less than a year before he died of throat cancer at age 53.
We do know some of those baseballs survived.
Two years ago, one of the best autographed Ruth balls of all-time, preserved by a young American Legion player at that tournament, was sold for over $81,000 by Memory Lane Inc.
That story inspired the sons of another player involved in the same tournament to put the ball they inherited on the auction block as well.
Craig and Mark Ingrahm have shared possession of it over the years, but to avoid any possible family disputes, they’ve decided to sell it. While not quite as pristine as the “Carvel Lincoln ball” sold in 2008, it’s expected to bring at least five figures.
In fact, the story about that ball got so much local publicity that Memory Lane is in Billings this weekend, doing appraisals and taking consignments.
As for the Ingrahms, they told the Billings Gazette, it was a tough decision.